Corneal Cross-Linking Diary

1200 – They called me back to start preparation for the procedure. 

1205 – The assistant offered me a xanax (which I declined) and gave me a quick overview of the procedure. She then reclined me in the chair and put a numbing drop in my eye followed by two other drops of an unknown nature. One might’ve been a steriod, I don’t remember. Assuming that she even told me, which I won’t swear to. After she sat me back up, I got a bouffant cap (can’t call it a hair net since I maintain a shaved head) and a sticky dot above the target eye.

1210 – The doctor came in, confirmed what was scheduled  to happen, and briefly summarized the procedure again. After asking if I had any questions, he left.

1215 – A different assistant came in and escorted me to a room with a low operating table. He instructed me to lie down, and once I was situated he gave me two more numbing eye drops. Then someone, not sure if the doctor or his assistant, put four sterile strips (basically squares of tape probably about one inch in size) around my eye. Then the doctor inserted a medieval torture device that would not allow my eyelid to close and commenced scraping the surface of my eye. There was mild discomfort from the pressure and lots of mental stress from being forced to watch the process. Maybe that xanax wouldn’t have been such a bad idea. Oh, well. Finally, he was done and the device removed so I could again blink. The scraping part only lasted a minute or two, but it felt like forever. Little did I know…

1235 – I was taken to another room where I was reunited with the original assistant.  She had me sit in a chair while she set up the next part of the procedure. After a few moments, she reclined my chair and started a timer. At minute zero and every two minutes thereafter for the next thirty  minutes she put a single drop of what was mostly riboflavin in my eye. I  was allowed to blink after each drop. By about the ten minute mark, I was having trouble keeping that eye open, so I started leaving it closed except for when she needed to add a drop and for a few seconds afterwards.

1310 – After the eyedrops were done, she sat me back up and went to get a measuring instrument of some kind, which she proceeded to poke into my eye. Something about measuring corneal thickness, if I recall the doctor’s briefing accurately. Presumably the measurement was acceptable, because they immediately moved me into the laser room.

1320 – I found myself reclined again with both the doctor and the original female assistant nearby. The doctor reinserted the torture device as the assistant set up the timer and eye drops. Doc then activated a light above me and pulled it in close. It had a red dot of light in the center and slightly dimmer blue light coming through what appeared to be a mesh behind the red light. I was told to focus on the red dot. The timer started and the assistant put the first riboflavin drop in. The inability to blink, the instruction to focus on the dot and the sensation that my eye was drying out and thus burning (a completely psychological construct, I’m sure) had me hating life in short order. The drops came in two minute intervals for thirty minutes, just like round one. It was by far the longest thirty minutes of my life. I counted the drops so I could track my progress. Each two minute interval was an eternity.

1355 – They finally took out the torture device, laid in a large clear contact lens over my eye to act as a bandage, and sat me back up. I was groggy from the intensity of the experience, and my hands had started to go numb from keeping my fists clenched for so long. They herded me out and sent me on my way. Both eyes and my nose were all running like Niagara Falls. Wife led me to the car and drove me home.

1430 – Home and miserable. My nose was down to intermittent running at that point, but I had to dab the corner of my eye several times per minute. I could tell that I could still see through it, though, just not clearly. The lack of clarity is expected, from them scraping off the top layer. I took my first dose of ibuprofen as instructed at this point, and put the first antibiotic drop in my eye. The ibuprofen helped dull the pain down to discomfort level shortly after I took it.

1700 – At this point, it was almost like a valve was turned. The watering suddenly decreased to about 20% of the level at which it had been since they sat me back up in the chair. I was actually able to go through a few emails on my phone. The right eye wasn’t contributing much, but didn’t hinder much either.

1730 – Laid down for a nap. Surprisingly, I was able to fall asleep and stay that way for almost two hours. Since then through the morning after (following a successful normal night’s sleep) the only issues were continued minor watering of the one eye, and the ability to feel the contact lens. The lens isn’t uncomfortable, just annoyingly noticeable.

The post-op appointment the morning after went well. Minor swelling was noted and deemed normal. Let us know if swelling or pain present as symptoms. Otherwise, see you in five days at which time we’ll remove the contact and clear you to return to work the next day.

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2 Responses to Corneal Cross-Linking Diary

  1. hollychism says:

    So, how are you doing today, several days after the procedure? Continuing to improve?

    • alaskan454 says:

      I’m pain free. The eye is still watering some, but not bad. Vision is actually more cloudy/blurry today than yesterday, but I don’t know but what that’s normal. I go back to the doctor on Tuesday and I’ll ask then if it hasn’t started improving again.

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